3rd Bass
3rd Bass


New York City, New York, U.S.


Hip hop

Years active

1987-1992, 1998-2000


Def Jam Recordings (1989-1992)
Columbia (1989-1992)
Serchlite Music (2000)

Associated acts

The Bomb Squad, Chubb Rock, KMD, Kurious, Nice & Smooth, Prince Paul

Past members

3rd Bass was an American hip hop group from New York City, New York. The group consisted of MC Serch, Pete Nice and DJ Richie Rich, and were notable for being one of the first successful interracial hip hop groups. They rose to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s with their two studio albums: The Cactus Album in 1989 and Derelicts of Dialect in 1991. 3rd Bass first split up in 1992, with MC Serch pursuing a solo career while Pete Nice and Richie Rich released the 1993 album Dust to Dust as a duo. The group reunited in 1998, only to break up a second time in 2000.


1987: FormationEdit

Michael "MC Serch" Berrin, Peter "Pete Nice" Nash and Richard "DJ Richie Rich" Lawson formed 3rd Bass in 1987. Richie Rich was a local DJ in New York, while Pete Nice was an English major at Columbia University and hosted a hip hop show on Columbia's student radio station, WKCR-FM. MC Serch was a regular performer at local clubs and block parties, and had released two independent singles, "Melissa" in 1986 and "Hey Boy!" in 1987. Record producer Sam Sever convinced Nice and Serch to work together in 1987. The group was first called 3 the Hard Way, as referenced in their song "Wordz of Wisdom". However, before recording their debut album, they changed their name to 3rd Bass.

1988-1989: Signing to Def Jam and The Cactus AlbumEdit

The group signed with Def Jam Recordings in 1988, and they were marketed as Def Jam's next big group after the Beastie Boys had left the label that same year. Sever, Prince Paul and The Bomb Squad produced 3rd Bass' 1989 debut album, The Cactus Album, a critically acclaimed album that went gold and contained a minor hit in "The Gas Face". The album features disses aimed at the Beastie Boys and MC Hammer.

1991-1992: Derelicts of Dialect, Vanilla Ice beef and break-upEdit

The group's second album, Derelicts of Dialect, was released in 1991. The album found a new target in fellow white rapper Vanilla Ice, who was the focal point of several tracks on the album, most notably "Pop Goes the Weasel". The track depicted Vanilla Ice as a culture thief who watered down the sound of hip hop in order to pander to a mainstream audience while depicting 3rd Bass as more respectful of the genre's traditions. Fueled by the heavy backlash against Vanilla Ice at the time of its release, "Pop Goes the Weasley" reached #1 on the Billboard Top Rap Singles chart, gave the group their first and only Top 30 single (peaking at #29 on the Hot 100), and helped propel the album to gold status. Vanilla Ice responded to the group with the songs "The Wrath" and "Hit 'Em Hard" which he first performed at concerts in 1992, but were not released on an album until Mind Blowin' in 1994.

3rd Bass' final collaboration was the title track to the soundtrack of the 1992 film Gladiator before the group broke up. MC Serch released his only solo album, Return of the Product, that same year, while Pete Nice and DJ Richie Rich released the album Dust to Dust the following year.

1998-present: ReunionsEdit

3rd Bass reunited to do a show at the birthday party of Andy Hilfiger, the brother of Tommy Hilfiger, in 1998. They then performed at Woodstock 1999, and released a non-charting single, "Hail to the Chief", in 2000 on Serch's label Serchlite Music.

On 6 April 2013, MC Serch announced on Facebook that 3rd Bass would reunite to tour in celebration of The Cactus Album's 25th anniversary.


Studio albumsEdit

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